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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vacheron Constantin Shares the Same Values as Matisse

Hugues de Pins of Vacheron Constantin addresses guests at the preview of a new Matisse exhibit at the Met. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

Vacheron Constantin has a long relationship with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In support of this relationship the Swiss luxury watch brand is sponsoring the exhibit, Matisse: In Search of True Painting, which examines the process of how the world renowned artist, Henri Matisse, created his art and developed his skills by producing multiple works of the same scene in different painting styles.

Hugues de Pins, North American president of Vacheron Constantin, hosted a preview tour of the exhibit on November 29. Rebecca Rabinow, curator in the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, led a 20-minute tour of the exhibition where she detailed highlights among the 49 paintings. The exhibit will run till March 17, 2013.

Rabinow explained that Matisse took inspiration from traditional paintings and the work of his contemporaries. He painted the same scene twice in the different styles of those he was studying. Over the years his technique of painting the same scene twice produced wildly different affects that was not in the style of others.

Young Sailor I (left) and Young Sailor II provided a bold example of how Henri Matisse approached his work. Photo credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

For example, his painting of a local teenager in Collioure, France, (pictured above) had all the hallmarks of the bright and expressive colors from his Fauvism period, a style of painting that he helped to create. He then painted a second version of the same image on an identically sized canvas, this time using flat color to produce a drastically different effect. Unsure of his new direction, Matisse told friends that the second painting was by the local postman. The exhibit includes many of these examples throughout his life (in particular two large paintings of a trio of bathers), his use of photography during his later years, and his paintings of a well-known Italian model named Laurette.

The exhibition gives the impression of a painter who was constantly getting better at his craft, even after the age where one might think he was past his prime.

“Matisse, in Search of True Painting I think corresponds very well with our company,” de Pins said during a lunch at the museum following the tour. “He was always looking, searching for perfection, excellence…. Our designers, our craftsmen, our watchmakers work in this spirit.”

De Pin said that even with the reputation Matisse had, it meant nothing to him as he continued to struggle with creating exceptional work. “You really need to keep on searching for excellence and perfection,” he said.

The event also gave a chance for de Pins to introduce Hyla Bauer as Vacheron Constantin’s new head of public relations in North America to the press members in attendance. Bauer was formerly the executive fashion editor of Conde Nast Traveler.

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